Woori Bank has acquired Cambodia’s microfinance institution VisionFund Cambodia, becoming a South Korean financial company with the largest offshore retail branch network.
Through the acquisition, the Cambodian entity with $196 million total asset as of end-2017 earned the new name of WB Finance, according to Woori Bank Sunday.
The institution with 106 branches across the nation will play the role in microfinance deposit-taking, according to a Woori Bank spokesperson.
As a result, Woori Bank has secured 410 offshore retail branches, marking the first time to top 400 among Korean financial institutions, according to the bank.
The figure doubled since 2015, when the bank became the first Korean bank to exceed 200 in the number of foreign branches.
This adds to Woori Bank‘s yearslong efforts to cultivate a retail branch network in Southeast Asia.
Since 2014, Woori Bank has acquired banking institutions, including Indonesia’s Bank Woori Saudara, Cambodia‘s Woori Finance Cambodia and the Philippines’ Wealth Development Bank.
Through offshore operations, Woori Bank targets a combined $24.9 billion in total asset from offshore branches and a combined $580 million won in operating profits by the end of this year, according to Woori Bank chief executive Sohn Tae-seung.
Prior to the deal, VisionFund Cambodia was one of over 30 institutions affiliated to VisionFund International. The company, founded by World Vision, also owns microfinancing branches in other Asian countries such as India, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Purchasing stakes from VisionFund International, Woori Bank plans to keep the local business intact, according to the bank spokesperson.
VisionFund Cambodia was registered in 2003 to the National Bank of Cambodia, a central bank and financial regulator. It has sold loans for the purpose of agriculture, small business or children’s well-being. The institution also provided savings accounts and local money transfer services to clients.
By Son Ji-hyoung